Lisa Deeley anounces candidacy for city commissioner

IF BEING the candidate of the Democratic establishment counts for anything, Lisa Deeley ought to be a shoo-in for city commissioner.

The longtime aide to top Democrats, fielded an All-Star team of big names at Famous 4th Street Deli yesterday morning when she formally announced her candidacy.

Two officials she's served under - Councilman Bobby Henon and City Controller Alan Butkovitz - joined Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilman Ed Neilson, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, Sheriff Jewel Williams, AFL-CIO president Pat Eiding, Building Trades business manager Pat Gillespie and IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty at the hugfest.

Deeley, in her announcement, decided to aim high: Increasing voter turnout, which is notoriously low in Philadelphia.

"One of the most important jobs for the city commissioner,aside from making sure that Election Day goes off without a hitch, is engaging the public," she said. "Philadelphians can no longer be satisfied with 10 to 15 percent voter turnout."

All three sitting city commissioners - Democrats Anthony Clark and Stephanie Singer and Republican Al Schmidt - are up for re-election. Deeley aims to knock off one of the Democrats in the primary.

Asked her take on Commission Chairman Clark's decision not to vote in the past few elections, Deeley said: "I don't believe it sets the best example . . . I don't know his feelings or motivations, so it would be unfair for me to judge. I've voted in every election since I was 18 - that's what I can tell you."

Singer, who initially ran as reformer, has her weak spot, too - she was fined by the ethics board last year.

She won't go without a fight and she still sees herself as the reform candidate, an approach that got her elected four years ago.

"This was an office where the political class decided who gets in," Singer said. "I showed that isn't true. I think that inspired a lot of people to run, honestly."

Deeley, daughter of former Sheriff Barbara Deeley, isn't the only challenger seeking to dump incumbents.

Omar Sabir, brother of laborers' union manager Ryan Boyer, and ward leaders Donna DeRose and Carol Jenkins are likely candidates. Both won citywide primary elections last year for spots on Traffic Court, only to see the corruption-laden court abolished before they could take office.

Edgar Campbell Jr., brother of the late West Philly political powerhouse Carol Campbell, has also expressed interest in making a run, as has Will Mega. Mega ran for Council in the past, but is still best known for his role in season one of the reality show "Big Brother."

Interestingly, Singer's former deputy, Dennis Lee, has already declared. While the two may have initially been running as a duo, sources say it's every man - and woman - for themselves now.


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